Following Cody Rhodes’ Ring of Honor World Title victory, Daniel Bryan set wrestling tongues wagging with a bombshell tweet that implied he might one day make an unlikely return to the ring.
Toasting ‘The American Nightmare’s win, he reminisced on his own lengthy spell with the strap, suggesting Cody would have room to gloat in September 2018 when he’d pass his incredible 462 day stint. Ending simply with ‘#FinalCountdown’, as an ode to his ROH theme music, it was another cheeky reminder that as a free man outside of his current contract, Daniel Bryan can do as he pleases.
The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion has enjoyed toying with both the audience and his current employers with similar references in the past. Since taking the on-screen role as SmackDown Live’s General Manager, Bryan has been a daring treat on the blue brand’s sister show Talking Smack, happily colouring outside of the company’s stringent lines.
He noted in his emotional retirement speech how frustrating it had been to only be lacking clearance from WWE doctors after seeking and receiving it from other personal physicians, but that clearance now represents the only hurdle on his return to the ring, and it’s likely that most independent promoters wouldn’t balk at using the ‘Yes Man’ if he himself assured them of his overall wellbeing.
Wrestling has trained fans to expect the unexpected, but Bryan’s in-ring return would represent what many thought as an unthinkable reality. His wouldn’t be the first, and it definitely won’t be the last.